SLI – Auroville: Faculty Members

The Faculty members at SLI have been largely drawn from the practitioners of various relevant sustainable livelihood processes from within the Auroville community. There are also faculty members who are associates, friends and network partners of Auroville from other institutions across the state as well as other parts of the country and the world. Provided below is a brief bio-sketch of the faculty members in alphabetic order, further details may be seen in their respective websites.


01 Anandi VaithialingamAnandi started KOFPU (Kottakarai Organic Food Processing Unit) in Auroville over two decades ago, with the aim of promoting organic farming and healthy eating habits. Her approach, carried by enthusiasm, conviction and research, embraces traditional and innovative, eastern and western methods of preserving food in healthy and eco-friendly ways. Anandi teaches Food Processing and Health Food preparation as livelihood options for rural community members.  Wastage of produced food constitutes almost 40% of the food produced in many parts of India today. These are due to lack of proper guidance, availability of techniques and processes, access to storage and transportation losses. By providing techniques for better processing of food at the farmer level/to the farmers, SLI promotes livelihood enhancement as well as lesser wastage of food produced.

Aravinda Maheswari

02 Aravinda MaheswariAravinda has been associated with Auroville from its beginning. An artist, educator, and cross-cultural facilitator, he keenly supports all efforts towards a healthy, fair, and sustainable world. Aravinda has been facilitating the programmes from the Hindi speaking states of India. He has been particularly working closely with the members of the community based water governance institution from the eastern state of Odisha.


Auro orchard

03 Auro orchardThe second largest and the oldest farm of Auroville- Auro Orchard was founded in 1969. Mr. Gerard became its steward entrusted with the task of “feeding the community”. Today, Auro Orchard is a bustling farm which offers several learning opportunities as a farm that is in transition to organic farming. The current steward is Mr. Christian.



04 Aurosoya

AuroSoya is a factory located in Auroville, dedicated to promoting healthy food for conscious living. In Aurosoya, they use organic soya beans grown in India, cook health soymilk which they then further turn into tofu (soya paneer), yogurt, buttermilk, etc. as value added products that are healthy and nutritious.


Auroville Bamboo Centre

05 Auroville Bamboo Centre


Auroville Bamboo Research Centre was founded in 2009 to bring awareness of the many applications of bamboo to the people in the Auroville community and to the villages in the Auroville bioregion. Today the Auroville Bamboo Research Centre is a learning space and a centre with several solutions for bamboo growers and workers alike. Bamboo is grown in several parts of the State of Tamil Nadu and there is a persistent request for programmes with the Bamboo research centre as a sustainable livelihood option for rural communities.


Bernard & Deepika

07 Bernard & DeepikaAuroville’s foremost stalwart of sustainable agriculture, Bernard has pioneered natural farming in South India since over four decades. Tamil Nadu’s revered organic farming guru, Dr.Nammalvar, got his initial introduction to organic farming from Bernard and often acknowledged him as his guru. Deepika and Bernard are active throughout India teaching traditional seed conservation and promoting exchange of traditional seeds and establishing seed banks among farmers. Their farm, the ‘Pebble Garden’ is seen as one of the best examples of soil reclamation utilizing organic  arming techniques in the country.

Bubesh Gupta Dr.

Senior Wildlife Biologist researching and working from Pitchandikulam Bioresource Centre, Bubesh Guptha has undertaken surveys and studies of the nearby Kaluveli tank, a significant sanctuary for migrant birds and bio diversity. He has been credited with discovering a new form of snake in the Seshachalam forest range and has several peer-reviewed journal publications to his credit. Bubesh provides an introduction to the understanding of the natural resource management as an essential components in designing sustainable livelihoods.

Deepti Tiwari

09 Deepti TiwariLiving in Auroville smce four decades, Deepti works extensively in integral education. She is the Principal of Last School, a senior level school based on
the unique ‘Free Progress’ approach. Her students today are leading professionals in several parts of the world. Apart from teaching in the school, Deepti is also a visiting faculty in several universities.


Fiff Fernandes
Fiff received her BFA (Drama) Specializing in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Calgary. She also has her Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher and she is a Humor Academy Graduate from the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor, USA. For more than 25 years her work has included teaching and facilitating classes for doctors, nurses, social workers, Chief Executive Officers, educators, children with special needs, teens, adults and seniors have sought Fiff to assist them and train them in discovering joy and happiness in their lives.
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14 HamishAfter receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Drama from the University of Alberta, Hamish has worked professionally as an actor in classical theatre, improvisation and musicals, on radio, stage, film and television since 1977. Along with Fiff, Hamish has trained over 500 Certified Laughter Yoga leaders and has presented workshops on laughter to over thirty thousand people around the globe. He has also worked in healthcare with seniors, in palliative care, and with people with physical and mental disabilities for over 35 years.


15 HerbertHerbert, one of the founders of Sadhanaa Forest located in the traditional rice-growing region surrounding the Irumbai water tank, is the steward and his aim is to convert the open fields into an integrated farm project,
connected to bio dynamic farming. He envisions the farm to become a large-scale community supported project, growing a maximum of rice and grains for Auroville.


Jasmin Maheswari

16 Jasmin Maheswari

A team member of SLI, with a background in education, healthcare and arts, Jasmin as a faculty plays the role of introducing the Auroville culture and institution the participants.



Jeff Goodchild

Trained as a teacher, Jeff is long-standing steward of Discipline farm, practicing permaculture and resear ching the viability of a r ange of lesser-known crops. He also convenes the Auroville Farm group and an active member in shoping the Auroville forming practices.



Joss Brooks

18 Joss BrooksOriginally hailing from Tasmania in Australia, Joss is the founder steward of the Pitchandikulam Forest in Auroville and a long standing Aurovillian. Joss has promoted and dedicated his life for the regeneration of the indigenous plants and their revival in the bio-region around Auroville as well as other parts of the state and country. With 4 decades of experience in foresting and planting he is considered a leading practitioner of this sector. The Pitchandikulam forest is a living proof of his dedicated and careful stewarding. His other accomplishments include establishing Adayar Poonga, a large re-forestation park in Chennai city and in creating several bio-diversity interpretation centres in many parts of


19 KathyKathy Founder of Eco Femme, a women-led social enterprise founded in 2010. Based in Auroville,Tamil Nadu, India, with the goal to create environmental and social change through revitalizing menstrual practices that are healthy, environmentally sustainable, culturally responsive and empowering for women around the world. They produce and sell washable cloth pads, provide menstrual health education to adolescents, and open dialogues on menstruation all along the way.


Mr. Krishnamurthy

20 Krishnamurthy

An engaged organic farmer and farming- teacher with more than 50 years of experience in teaching organic manures. He is the current president of Puducherry Organic Farmers Society. He was a follower and a dedicated student of Nammazhwar, the renowned organic farming leaders of Tamil Nadu



Krishna McKenzie

Long-timeAurovilian, steward and co-founder of Solitude organic farm and restaurant, permaculture teacher & promoter of “a food garden for every home and school”, Krishna believes that local, organic food growing
is essential for a healthy world and society. He has been providing the Community based Sustainable Agriculture as a course under SLI. Krishna is also a much sought after musician and part of the band “Emergence” which performs music promoting eco-conscious issues.

Lourdes N adin Epinal

22 Lourdes Nadin EpinalEnvironmental education teacher at Pitchandikulam, Lourdes blends local knowledge, environmental priorities and 4H education (head, heart, hand, health) to reach the message to the community. He is an accomplished educator in mindfulness techniques and laughter therapy. Lourdes conducts stress reduction, laughter yoga and mindfulness exercises programmes for SLI which blends with the themes of the various

Lucas Dengal Dr.

23 Lucas Dengal Dr.While serving as a medical doctor at the Auroville Health Centre in 1980s, Lucas took up environmental issues of public health concern. He started an organic farm and later two enterprises for promoting organic farming and of EM (Effective Microorganisms) technology, for trading of organic foods and EM, and for the eco logical management of liquid and solid waste (EcoPro ). A teacher and trainer in organic and biodynamic farming, Lucas is secretary of the Bio-dynamic Association of India (BDAI).

Manu Gopal

An architect m Auroville who specialises in building utilising locally available materials, apart from adopting waste materials as part of his designs. He is
currently stewarding the Sacred Groves, a low-cost, energy-positive, zero-waste, socially enhancing housing project in Auroville.




Martina has built up the food pro25 Martinacessmg unit ‘Naturellement’ since the early years of Auroville with the aim of making use of its farms’ excess fruit crops. Over the years, her unit has established highest quality standards, a stable market, and an exemplary care (in health, nutrition, education etc) for Naturellement’s staff which she considers as family. Today the brand is one of the leading brands in healthy jams, squashes, cookies and other health foods. Martina and Naturellement serves as one of the several units that provides exposure and insights into the quality management aspect of food processing for SLI programmes.


26 MeenakshiHails from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, and joined Auroville in 1976. She is a professional social worker, experienced university-level teacher, writer, translator, magazine editor, counsellor and guide. She is also a well known educationalist in Tamil Nadu in the field of innovative methods of teaching, particularly for the non school going children and child labourers.


Mona Doctor-Pingel

27 Mona Doctor-PingelAn architect based m Auroville. She studied architecture at the Center for Environment and Planning (CEPT), Ahmedabad, and has a master’s degree in Appropriate Technology from Flensburg University, Germany. Her Studio Naqshbandi experiments with various building technologies using local materials and craftsmen, and incorporates principles of Building  Biology. She has been actively involved in different planning bodies of Auroville. Currently, she is also part of the five-year Indo-US joint research initiative on Building Energy Efficiency. She is the author of a monograph on Poppo Pingel, which forms a part of the series of monographs on the pioneering architects of Auroville.

Olaganathan Sundamurthy 

30 Olaganathan SundamurthyAnnachi as he is fondly called by all, Olaganathan is one of the most experienced and sought after trainers for the community based institutions in Tamil Nadu. He has been providing training and mentoring services through the several institutions that he is associated with; he sits in the Board of many Non-Government Organizations and shapes their thought and action. At SLI, Olaganathan annachi provides a framework and approach for the community enterprises programme and acts as the main faculty for the same.

Ok(Okjeong Lee)

31 Ok(Okjeong Lee)Ok is a designer and artist of Upcycling. She was a fashion designer for more than 20 years in Korea. She settled in Auroville in 2008, started Ok Upcycling collection in 2011. In 2015 she co-founded Up cycling Studio in Aurville. It is an open source design and art space. She is passionate about making something from nothing as a lifestyle. Her work started from the wish to save our Earth!AA She cr afts bags and hats from cassette and video tapes, fabrics, plastics and PVC, and do Art installations from CDs and other materials.


33 ParthasharathyA MBA graduate from Gandhigram Rural University, Partha has more than a decade of experience, rural livelihood programmes and particularly  community based institutions and organizations. He has brought his experience in rural empowerment, natural resource management, and project manager of SEDAB (Sustainable Enterprise Development for the AV
Bioregion) in designing and developing community based enterprises based programmes at SLI. Partha facilitates the trouble shooting programme on community enterprises that happens each month.

Parvathy Nagaraj

34 Parvathy NagarajA Human Rights & Sociology graduate, Parvathy is a social entre- preneur. She is dedicated to women’s causes, economic empowerment and enhancing daily life, e.g. through growing their own food and healing with
herbs. Her first teachers in the knowledge of medicinal herbs were her parents, both traditional vaidyas. Today, she successfully incubates several rural managed enterprises that are based on herbs and herbal products.



35 RamasubramanianDirector and co-founder of SLI, Ram is an active advocate for safe food and a sustainable society and world. He has extensively worked with academic institutions, civil society organizations and state & national government for over 19 years as a process management and conceptualizing expert in social initiatives. He has been inspiring, shaping & supporting grassroots organisations and institutions, especially with a view towards building strong rural economies utilizing the concept of self-reliance. He founded and heads the chennai based social consulting organization samanvaya.

Ribhu Vohra

36 Ribhu Vohra

He was born and raised in Auroville and studied  hospitality management in Netherlands. After working with Sheraton Hotels and Shell International for a few years, he recently returned to Auroville. He is a member of the Soma Waste Management team at Auroville involved with organizing the Auroville Litter Free campaign aimed at increasing awareness of re-cycling.


Satprem Maini

37 Satprem MainiFounder of Auroville Earth Institute, the Asian chair of the UNESCO earthen architecture programme, Satprem teaches extensively both locally and internationally, in Asia & Africa. Auroville has many examples of
Stabilised Earth Brick construction, including the Visitors Centre and storey apartment buildings. Laura is an architect colleague of Satprem and has worked extensively in Earth Institute programmes across the world. Aiyappan is a key faculty at Earth Institute and has taught all over the world.

Suresh Bhandari

40 Suresh BhandariAcactivist Waste Management expert who has experience working with Bobbili municipality in Andhra Pradesh and Coimbatore municipality in Tamil Nadu and also holds a world Guinness record on waste management. Awareness creation and practices. He has been teaching and building systems for waste management across inside for different governments.



41 SVARAMEstablished in Feb’ 13 with the aim to incorporate the vocational training opportunities for the unemployed youth around the villages of Auroville, a technical and sociological research component to bring together Indian traditional music with contemporary world music culture and a social outreach through sharing the acquired skills in village education. The project has many contacts in India and abroad and effectively is building a bridge between the ancient local tradition and the emerging global culture.


42 THE SUN FARMThe Sun Farm was born in the year 2009, It started the cheese production from cow milk. They have produced natural handmade product from an organic environment where animals and plants are taken care of with love.



Toine van Meghen

44 Toine van MeghenSenior Aurovilian working with large-scale Renewable Energy projects (Solar & Wind technologies ),at local & regional planning & policymaking
level. A recent breakthrough spearheaded by Toine is the option of installing grid-connected solar energy systems on Tamil Nadu homes and public buildings. He has played a critical role in evolving the solar energy policy for Tamil Nadu State.

Tom Gablier

45 Tom GablierTomas has been the steward since decades of Annapurna, Auroville’s largest farm and South India’s first certified organic dairy farm. Tomas has helped establish the standards for organic dairy certification in India. Annapurna also processes millets and oil seeds from surrounding farmers and assists them through networking.



46 TomasSteward since decades of Annapurna, Auroville’s largest farm and its rice- and millet basket, and South India’s first certified organic dairy farm, Tomas has helped establish the standards for orgamc dairy  certification in India. Annapurna also processes millets and oil seeds from surrounding farmers and assists them through networking.



47 Upasana

Upasana is a design studio in Auroville. Their mission is to create conscious sustainable fashion whereby the environmental cost can be controlled and not passed on to the future generations. For them, design is creative and problem-solving. Upasana looks at social issues as a space to exercise for change.